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Wisdom - Chapter 16

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1 Thus they were appropriately punished by similar creatures and tormented by swarms of vermin.

2 In contrast to this punishment, you did your people a kindness and, to satisfy their sharp appetite, provided quails -- a luscious rarity -- for them to eat.

3 Thus the Egyptians, at the repulsive sight of the creatures sent against them, were to find that, though they longed for food, they had lost their natural appetite; whereas your own people, after a short privation, were to have a rare relish for their portion.

4 Inevitable that relentless want should seize on the former oppressors; enough for your people to be shown how their enemies were being tortured.

5 Even when the fearful rage of wild animals overtook them and they were perishing from the bites of writhing snakes, your retribution did not continue to the end.

6 Affliction struck them briefly, by way of warning, and they had a saving token to remind them of the commandment of your Law,

7 for whoever turned to it was saved, not by what he looked at, but by you, the Saviour of all.

8 And by such means you proved to our enemies that you are the one who delivers from every evil;

9 for them, the bites of locusts and flies proved fatal and no remedy could be found to save their lives, since they deserved to be punished by such creatures.

10 But your children, not even the fangs of poisonous snakes could bring them down; for your mercy came to their help and cured them.

11 One sting -- how quickly healed!-to remind them of your pronouncements rather than that, by sinking into deep forgetfulness, they should be cut off from your kindness.

12 No herb, no poultice cured them, but your all-healing word, Lord.

13 Yes, you are the one with power over life and death, bringing to the gates of Hades and back again.

14 A human being out of malice may put to death, but cannot bring the departed spirit back or free the soul that Hades has once received.

15 It is not possible to escape your hand.

16 The godless who refused to acknowledge you were scourged by the strength of your arm, pursued by no ordinary rains, hail and unrelenting downpours, and consumed by fire.

17 Even more wonderful, in the water -- which quenches all -- the fire raged fiercer than ever; for the elements fight for the upright.

18 At one moment, the fire would die down, to avoid consuming the animals sent against the godless and to make clear to them by that sight, that the sentence of God was pursuing them;

19 at another, in the very heart of the water, it would burn more fiercely than fire to ruin the produce of a wicked land.

20 How differently with your people! You gave them the food of angels, from heaven untiringly providing them bread already prepared, containing every delight, to satisfy every taste.

21 And the substance you gave showed your sweetness towards your children, for, conforming to the taste of whoever ate it, it transformed itself into what each eater wished.

22 Snow and ice endured the fire, without melting; this was to show them that, to destroy the harvests of their enemies, fire would burn even in hail and flare in falling rain,

23 whereas, on the other hand, it would even forget its own strength in the service of feeding the upright.

24 For the creation, being at the service of you, its Creator, tautens to punish the wicked and slackens for the benefit of those who trust in you.

25 And this is why, by changing into all things, it obediently served your all-nourishing bounty, conforming to the wishes of those who were in need;

26 so that your beloved children, Lord, might learn that the various crops are not what provide nourishment, but your word which preserves all who believe in you.

27 For that which fire could not destroy melted in the heat of a single fleeting sunbeam,

28 to show that, to give you thanks, we must rise before the sun and meet you at the dawning of the day;

29 whereas the hope of the ungrateful melts like winter frost and flows away like water running to waste.

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Daily Readings

August 23rd, 2019

Reading 1, Ruth 1:1, 3-6, 14-16, 22
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 146:5-6, 7, 8-9, 9-10
Gospel, Matthew 22:34-40

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